Getting your kids excited about books

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Want to get your children excited about books and keep them reading all summer? The Walla Walla Public Library is just the place to make that happen.

Children get excited about reading when they connect with books that make them laugh, think, feel and learn. From the very youngest to teens there are many ways to create these connections. There is no “one book fits all” — as they grow, discovering and rediscovering what makes children’s eyes light up is part of the fun.

Babies can enjoy board books. Let them handle them, turn the pages and begin the “book experience.” But the sound of your voice is the most important thing. Brief text, bold pictures, rhyme and repetition build sound, word and concept recognition.

Toddlers and preschoolers start to show their reading preferences early on. Ballerina mice, big trucks, curious monkeys and big red dogs are a few of the many childhood favorites. With the wealth of exceptional picture books published, this is an age to give your children the gift of appreciating books.

Take a stack and explore — read their favorites and yours. Include interactive activities like making animal noises, counting and helping to tell the story. Reinforce ideas by adding activities: Make a yellow hat, draw a big red dog, go to the ballet or visit a construction site.

Learning to read is one of the great milestones in life. Reading impacts every facet of education, and keeping kids engaged over the summer is critical to their success. Early and challenged readers are the most vulnerable for skill loss.

For new readers, books using sight words and pictures that support the text and story help build skills. From the youngest reader until they are ready to jump into chapter books, wonderful series like “Fly Guy,” “Elephant and Piggie,” “Commander Toad” and “Fancy Nancy” make learning to read fun.

As children grow, so do their choices in reading. Many children connect with non-fiction. Take a subject they are interested in and turn it into a way to reach them with books. Graphic novels (comic book format) are very popular and a great way to engage all levels of readers. This format allows for higher-level stories that are supported with illustrations.

“Chapter book” series like “Magic Treehouse,” “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” “Little House on the Prairie” and “Harry Potter” are perennial favorites. Of course, new favorites are just waiting to be found.

A trip to the Walla Walla Public Library can help kids get excited about reading. Children can sign up, read and win with the library’s Summer Reading Program. Children set a reading goal and get stickers and a log to keep track of their reading. Every child who meets their goal earns a free book. Sign-ups start on June 1 and continue through August 3.

Elizabeth George is the young people’s librarian at the Walla Walla Public Library, 238 E. Alder St. Contact the library at 527-4550 or wallawallapubliclibrary.org. Library hours are 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Tuesday-Friday and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday.

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